Variety is the spice of life. Developers of MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Archeage would have you believe such variety could be sourced within their small corners of the world. Not so. One must look beyond the horizon to see the world in its entirety. No one game can do it all. While it’s easy to grow complacent playing the same game, it ultimately leads to malcontent. The social nature of MMORPGs can often keep us around well past its natural life. That’s not inherently bad – friends are good, after all. But it puts the gameplay on the back burner. For a video game, that seems like a big issue. The only way to regain clarity is to take a break. Play a single player game (or even a non-MMORPG multiplayer game) and see what you might be missing.
MMORPGs run a big copycat ring, where ideas are borrowed from one another and recycled heavily. Innovation falls by the wayside because funding an MMORPG is expensive. That means risks cannot be taken in the same way that they can for a small scoped indie game like Transistor. It’s possible a different type of MMORPG entirely would make for a better fit. Unfortunately that can be hard to realize without knowing what that better fit would be. Often times getting to the point where one experiences the full depth of an MMORPG’s gameplay takes several hours. By indulging in a non-MMORPG, one can more readily understand gameplay features that await them.
There’s a lot to be said for taking a step back and gaining some perspective. MMORPGs tend to boil down to routines. We complete our daily quests, run a few dungeons hoping for some drops, and deal with some trolls in public chat.
Just another day at the office.
And if that phrase resonates with you, you really do need a break. Playing a video game should never be comparable to work (unless you’re a QA tester, I guess). Adventure is not meant to be a series of routines. Adventure should be a compelling series of events fraught with danger, mystery, and wonder. And maybe, just maybe, that adventure is waiting for you in the form of a non-MMORPG.
One of a few situations will arise from playing a non-MMORPG:
- You’ll decide your MMORPG isn’t really that fun or fulfilling and drop the game.
- You’ll miss your friends but not the gameplay leading to only playing with friend availability.
- You’ll miss the gameplay and your friends. Perfect! Nothing like a little perspective to show that you’re right where you belong.
- You’ll be thinking about all of the leveling and gear grinding you’re missing out on. If taking a break is really that hard, it’s possible you have an MMO addiction. I’d be happy to point you to some resources.
Either way, reassessing from time to time provides a realistic perspective on your priorities. These priorities can be hard to see when they’re obfuscated by routine. You might even discover something that would fit really well within your active MMORPG. OK, great! Let the game developers know. They may not get around to addressing the idea for several months, if ever. But they might listen. Or it might spark another developer’s creativity. No one has time to experience everything that’s out there, so it’s important we share those experiences. This leads to ideas in summation that are greater than what one can imagine by their lonesome.
MMORPGs by their very nature offer greater potential than any other genre of gaming. There’s no reason why features typically reserved for non-MMORPGs can’t be found within the massively multiplayer arena. Yet we get stuck in this rut that leads to expectations of more of the same. Break out of that rut and play something different, if only for a little bit. You won’t regret it.